Issue 255 - March 2014

News | Art Market | Books | Comment | Conservation | Diaries | Exhibitions | Features | Focus | Media | Museums | Obituary |


US and China renew import deal Free

Controversial agreement aims to curb smuggling

Turkey turns blind eye to plunder, says Syria Free

Syria condemns foreign involvement in organised and systematic looting of its heritage

US and China renew import deal

Controversial agreement aims to curb smuggling

UK-Russia: culture of co-operation?

This year’s joint cultural programme could help to mend political divisions

Painting acquired by Gurlitt turns up in Chicago home

Work bought from persecuted Jews by dealer privileged by the Nazis is now with Jewish couple

Miami back to square one

City scraps Koolhaas’s plan for Convention Center

More questions than answers after ‘miraculous’ Russian avant-garde show Free

Specialists express concern about lack of provenance for works by artists including Rodchenko and Goncharova in Italian exhibition

The art Louis Vuitton didn’t want you to see

The work of five artists who are defying the French luxury-goods group goes on show in Japan

Art Market

Pump up the value Free

Lending a work to an exhibition increases its price—but should the practice be controlled?

Western dealers push for easier trade with Iran

Galleries and artists see hope in temporary relaxation of some sanctions discouraging nuclear proliferation

India aligns itself with China

Western collectors had their fingers burned in the speculative years, now dealers seek a more sympathetic market

Think of an estimate, double it

European collections and Young British Artists met eager Asian buyers, pushing prices up and up

When is appropriation legally appropriate?

According to a recent report, many artists aren’t sure where fair use begins and ends

Nigeria: the next big thing?

As the oil-rich country’s economy begins to boom, its art is attracting increased interest across the US

New York galleries have the bonus of two fairs

The Armory Show and the Art Show have participants exhibiting in both fairs


The continuing appeal of Dürer

The flow of books on the artist never stops—and that is no bad thing

Some fresh air, please

A new tome on William Kent is authoritative but lacks any new insights

Extravagant, wasteful… and fun

The Georgians knew how to party, and this book uncovers the lavish temporary structures they created to stage their celebrations

A Neapolitan follower of note

This would be a fine study of Paolo de Matteis were it not for some silly errors

Hear no evil, see no evil…

An investigation of the German museums under the Nazis shows that, although they did not collaborate, they did little to resist Hitler

Late blooming landscapes

The art of Brian Horton, whose best work emerged in his middle years

Islamic art of the flesh

An intriguing series of essays examines sex and sensibility in Islamic erotic art and pornography


Banning Balthus was shameful

The museum that censored the artist’s Polaroids of a young model due to fears of public disapproval betrayed its purpose

Biennials, far from the crowded art market? Free

As the Whitney Biennial opens in New York, Jori Finkel examines how such exhibitions try to keep their distance from commercial fairs


Italian auditors have yet to approve Great Pompeii Project management post Free

As a wall tumbles on the site, financial review could block appointment of archaeologist overseeing €105m restoration plan

V&A detectives crack Meissen mystery

3D scanning of 19th-century copy provides missing parts needed to piece together 1740s porcelain fountain

The truth about Pollock’s all-nighter Free

Research reveals just how long the artist worked on his Mural, which goes on show at the Getty today

Mould blooms in Moscow

Despite high-profile restoration just six years ago, century-old frescoes already need further work



What next for ‘degenerate art’?

German law prohibits works deaccessioned by the Nazis to be returned to their earlier owners, but New York show will rekindle debate

Venetian colours blind London

Overshadowed by his contemporaries, Veronese finally gets his first monographic show in the UK

The thorn in Hitler’s side

An overdue survey of Emil Nolde’s work comes clean about the uncomfortable truth of his Nazi past

Uncommon threads

The Prado exhibits panels and status symbol tapestries designed by Rubens for a Madrid convent

Nordic bling

British Museum show sheds light on the opulence and far reach of the Vikings

A print of a print

The influence of Piranesi’s idea of fantasy on John Soane’s designs

From Russia (and Britain) with love, apparently

Despite recent tension between the two countries, and concern about Russia’s human rights record, a major programme of exhibitions takes place this year

Art for art’s sake

The Biennale of Sydney bucks the dominant trend and leaves politics aside

Whitney Biennial hits the books

Publishing is a theme this year of the sprawling survey of contemporary art


A sculptor’s eye: Veronese in London Free

As an exhibition of the artist's works opens at the National Gallery, we talk to Nicholas Penny and Xavier Salomon about the artist who trained as a stonemason

Phyllida Barlow takes over Tate Britain Free

Interview with the sculptor who unveils her vast, "anti-monumental" work for the Duveen Galleries today


History ain’t what it used to be

Every age invents its own history, from mixing and matching architectural styles in the US, to the ongoing reinvention of the Middle Ages throughout the West. By Jeffrey Hamburger

Contemporary bubbles are easily burst

The ultra-rich are driving up prices for contemporary art, but they are a fickle crowd. By Liz Kim

The Don Giovanni of collecting

Vittorio Sgarbi, the collector and politician who is known as the scourge of contemporary art, talks about the art he does love—Italian Old Masters

Tefaf special report: a test of the potential for growth of China Free

Will the increasing number of collectors in China start to acquire more non-Chinese art?

Renaissance Germany in and out of fashion

Britain and its National Gallery’s schizoid attitude has resulted in the unfortunate loss of important paintings

The best that was and will be

Curators and scholars on their key exhibitions of 2013, 2014 and beyond. Interviews by Pas Paschali

Changing trends in tribal art

From Renaissance explorers to contemporary artists, the West’s relationship with tribal art is forever being reappraised and re-evaluated. By Lance Entwistle

Studies in furniture

The Furniture History Society celebrates 50 years of research and education. By Simon Swynfen Jervis

A short history of furniture

Simon Swynfen Jervis selects his highlights from the V&A, spanning five centuries. By Pas Paschali

Following the warp and weft of time

Tapestry is as alluring a medium to today’s artists as Renaissance ones. By Elizabeth Cleland

Latter-day tapestries

Three contemporary artists who are redefining the woven medium

The latest bestsellers

Illustrated Medieval manuscripts are taking their place among the contemporary art of the most discerning collectors. By Julia Halperin

State-of-the-art projects

The latest historical research, from electron microscopy on Ancient Greek pottery to J.W.M. Turner’s bowels and Queen Charlotte’s kangaroos. By Ben Luke

Best texts on Old Masters

The five most important publications on painters and sculptors working between 1400 and 1800, published in 2013 and early 2014. By Donald Lee

Objects of desire

Our round-up of some of the most interesting items appearing at The European Fine Art Fair, Maastricht. By Pas Paschali


Montreal goes straight to the horse’s mouth

Artist biographies are strongly represented in the Canadian city’s major annual celebration of art films


Israel steps up hunt for Nazi-looted art Free

Museums under pressure to research collections for Holocaust victims’ assets

British Museum coy about its income from the Gulf

Abu Dhabi consultancy fee could be £10m a year

New York’s gain is London’s loss Free

While a US study highlights the gender gap among museum directors, better pay and greater opportunities for experts in America sparks fear of “brain drain” from Britain

How Islamic art helps paint a bigger picture

Loan deals by Dallas and Houston reflect a growing interest in the Middle East and beyond

You’re sure of a big surprise Free

A new breed of curators at US museums has the job of playing with visitors’ expectations

To ban or not to ban photography Free

As the Van Gogh Museum reintroduces prohibition, it’s no wonder visitors with cameras are confused

Egypt appeals for aid after bomb blast

Restoring Islamic museum and national library in Cairo will cost millions


Rene Ricard

The artist, critic and bon vivant was credited with propelling Jean-Michel Basquiat to fame